Steakhouse has become a boss chef, cooks 200 steaks a day

  • The owner of a Florida steakhouse became a full-time chef due to a staff shortage.
  • Bubba Roadhouse cooked 400 steaks on Father’s Day, but had to close the next day because he didn’t have staff.
  • The lack of staff meant that Bubba had to take items off the menu and lay off a hostess at the door.

A staff shortage at a Florida steakhouse has forced the owner to become a full-time chef responsible for cooking about 200 steaks a day.

Jay Johnson, owner of Bubba’s Roadhouse and Saloon in Cape Coral, told Insider in an interview that he works eight-hour shifts seven days a week to cover gaps in his workforce. There should be 12 people working in the kitchen, but there are only nine.

“For five months, I’ve been cutting meat in addition to working nights on the actual cooking line,” Johnson said, adding that he had just hired an 18-year-old and taught her how to cut meat.

Johnson said Bubba’s biggest challenge is staying open and taking care of clients. The steakhouse had to close on Monday because there were no workers available after Johnson readjusted the schedule so all staff were working on Parents’ Day – one of the restaurant’s busiest days.

“Customers definitely suffer if we have a small number of employees,” Johnson said. “We have slower service and that affects the guests.”

On weekends and on busy days, Johnson said, Boba cooks about 200 steaks, among other dishes. On Father’s Day, he added, the restaurant served up to 400 steaks.

The Department of Labor says the minimum wage in Florida is $10 an hour, while employees who receive tips are required to make $6.98 an hour, according to the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. Johnson pays his kitchen staff $13 an hour and his housekeeping staff $7 with tips, but he said they can earn between $150 and $200 a day, while bartenders can earn up to $400 a day. He added that everyone gets paid to work overtime.

Johnson said a staff shortage meant Bubba had to pull different items off the menu some nights and work without a hostess welcoming guests at the door.

Johnson said employees at Bupa are tired from the six-day schedule — one worker even left due to exhaustion. He added that other employees left because they were going back to college, moved cities, and some were abandoned because they weren’t a good fit for Bubba.

Johnson said the labor shortage has improved for him in recent months but Bubba is still not fully equipped, which is making things difficult.

“I’d be happy just to be able to get out of the kitchen every day,” Johnson said.

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